Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War
As a teen, I read Who Dares, Wins. Over the years, I paid fascinated attention to the wide-ranging post-war career(s) of Col. David Stirling.
That was no preparation for this gritty, intensely realistic journey with the uncaught bandits and sometimes deeply flawed personalities who made up the early SAS.
Stirling was a lounge lizard and layabout of the highest layer of Scots society. He apparently never had to be taught about it being better to seek forgiveness than permission. When he found the opportunity to take the remnants of a recently cashiered parachute group and others he gathered with the vaguest of word-of-mouth recruitment, he attempted, with manic assistance, to teach parachute work off speeding trucks. On his own first real jump, he ripped his chute, and his resulting injuries would trouble him the rest of his life.
Disastrous failed attempts to air-inject on Jerry’s African coastal advance give a sense of despair to the saga. Men were left behind to die in the desert.
When Stirling eventually teamed his SAS with the Long Range Desert Recon group, the great sand sea allowed land injections. Successes began, though they were hardly constant. Sheer physical strain and misery were constants.
It exhausted me to read this wrenching epic. I treasure it.